Phuket Town has had something of a rebirth in recent years. Particularly the historic section of town has been rediscovered and undergone a significant renovation.
Numerous Chinese shophouses in the Singaporean style have undergone renovations and been transformed into inviting coffee cafes, art galleries, and tiny stores offering high-end clothing and handcrafted goods. While some of the colonial-style houses have been converted into upscale lodging, galleries, and eateries.
Thankfully, Old Towns has undergone a very elegant facelift. There are no fast food restaurants, Starbucks, or other blights.
Instead, there are modern coffee shops and locally owned stores next to historic homes, restaurants, and shrines that have stood there for decades. The Chinese herb store Nguan Choon Tong, Phuket’s oldest pharmacy, has been in operation since 1917 and is located on Thalang Road.
Thalang, Dibuk, and Krabi Road serve as the hubs for the majority of the major attractions, which are concentrated around a condensed region. However, it is highly recommended to travel outside of this region to explore the less traveled districts in order to get a sense of everyday life in the area away from the tourist attractions.
The majority of Phuket Old Town can be explored on foot in a few hours, but spending at least one night there will allow you to get to know the area better. During the day, tour buses pass by, and tour groups swarm the little streets in pursuit of the ideal selfie. However, as afternoon approaches, the mood shifts. World-class restaurants open their doors and provide the tastiest foods as locals and tourists alike go to the vibrant night markets to shop, mingle, and dine.
For a walking path that encompasses all the attractions of Phuket Town, have a look at our suggested walking tour of Phuket Old Town at the conclusion of this post.
Walking about Old Phuket Town, marveling at the beautiful shophouses and street art, and letting your feet lead the way are actually what make the experience so much pleasure. Visit a few stores, go to a museum, or unwind at one of the numerous coffee cafes.
Several of Thailand’s top street painters and local artists were asked by the Food, Art, Town Phuket (F.A.T.) project in 2016 to paint murals and create vibrant paintings on the façade of Old Town.
The most colorful street in Phuket Town is Soi Romance, or Soi Romanee as it is known in Thai. It is lined with a number of bright, century-old shophouses. It used to be the most renowned red-light area in the city, home to brothels, casinos, and opium dens that catered to the Chinese tin mining labor.
Romanee is a word that relates to the ladies who used to labor here in the past and meaning “beautiful” or “adorable.” Before someone determined that it was worthwhile to preserve the distinctive architecture, this tiny lane was essentially abandoned for years.
In the Phuket old town, Vanich Walking Street is a relatively new development. It is an inside corridor that links the streets Thalang and Phang Nga. Vendors display their wares, food, clothing, and crafts throughout the length of the cramped indoor lane. The walls are covered with street art made by regional artists. There is a lovely coffee shop upstairs in case you need a quick break.
All around Phuket Old Town, there are several tiny stores that sell hipster merchandise, local designers’ clothing, trinkets, posters, and handcrafted crafts.
The stores here appeal just as much to Thai tourists as to international visitors, unlike the normal tourist hotspots along Phuket’s shore, thus there is a welcome absence of the usual mass-produced trinkets.
Ranida, with its art-gallery-like exhibition of vintage Buddha statues, lovely organic fabrics, and high-end women’s clothes, is one of the trendiest stores.
Maria purchased a few skirts and blouses that were created and manufactured locally. A trip to Phuket Old Town can be the answer if you’re seeking for more distinctive presents and mementos to bring home.
For painters and craftspeople, the Phuket Old Town has developed into a little refuge. The art galleries essentially sit side by side along Phang Nga road. We really loved peeking our heads in and taking a look around since there is a huge variety of art and painting styles on exhibit.
From the well-known and bustling Soi Romanee, you can really view the elaborate and colorful roof of this temple. Nevertheless, very few people go across Dubik Street to examine it.
If you do decide to cross Dubik Street, you will come upon a magnificent and sizable temple complex made up of a number of exquisitely designed buildings in gold, including a tall stupa.
The temple is close to Phuket Old Town, although it isn’t quite as magnificent as, say, Wat Chalong, Phuket’s most well-known temple. It’s worth going because of the refreshingly few crowds.
Be sure to stroll through the garden, where each tree has a sign with a Buddhist concept written in both English and Thai.
Locals frequently hold weddings and funerals at Wat Mongkol Nimit because it is so well-liked by them. The temple is also home to a school for aspiring young monks. As always, you must dress modestly when visiting temples in clothing that covers your shoulders and knees in order to enter the structures.
Our favorite night market in Phuket Town is the Sunday Night Market on Thalang Road, commonly known as Lardiay (meaning “large market” in southern Thai dialect).
Every Sunday night, Thalang Road is transformed into a pedestrian-friendly street with stalls, merchants, and street performers. Locals and visitors converge to dine and take part in the celebrations while the stores along the street stay open late.
We have visited several night markets in Thailand, but this one is among the most lovely and energetic. Lanterns illuminate the colorful historic buildings after sunset.
While there have always been a few night markets in Phuket Town, most of them were located rather far from the Old Town. Then, in 2013, some clever individuals made the decision to launch a market in the center of Phuket Old Town in an effort to breathe some more life into the area after the tour buses had departed for the day.
The outcome was a spectacular success, and today, Phuket Sunday Market is the most well-liked attraction in Old Town.
The emphasis here is primarily on the cuisine, even if there are some merchants offering souvenirs, clothing, toys, purses, and accessories. It’s a great spot to try some amazing street cuisine, particularly southern Thai delicacies. Try one or two dishes at one seller before moving on until the enticing aromas convince you that it’s time for another delicacy. As you unwind and enjoy the show, wash it down with some delectable Thai tea or perhaps a coconut shake. It’s a ton of fun!
So that’s all, then! This Phuket Town travel guide is meant to help you make the most of your vacation to Phuket, so we really hope you find it useful.